• Sweden edition
 
Sami win long fight for reindeer grazing rights

Sami win long fight for reindeer grazing rights

Published: 27 Apr 2011 12:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Apr 2011 12:17 GMT+02:00

The relief was tangible among the Sami who had gathered in Umeå to receive the verdict.

"Finally it is over. We have had 14 years of uncertainty, so this is something we have been waiting for. Finally life can go back to normal routines," said Oleg Omma, the chair of Umbyn Sami village (Upmeje tjeälddie).

The Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeal for Upper Norrland ruling from September 2007, which said that the Sami had proven that their ancestors had grazed reindeer on the land in the Nordmaling area "since time immemorial".

"For us this ruling is absolutely crucial. But primarily I see this as incredibly important for all the children and young people in Sápmi who are considering reindeer herding," Omma said, referring to the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people.

"This will ease concerns in all of Sápmi, for all of us who work with reindeer. It is a ruling for all reindeer herders," he added.

The case had been brought back in 1998, when over a hundred forest owners in the Nordmaling area clubbed together to try to force the Sami to stop using their land for winter grazing of reindeer.

The Sami villages (Siida) of Ran, Umbyn and Vapsten had no right to use the land, the landowners argued, claiming that the forests had not been used for grazing long enough for the Sami to have established the right to use them.

The Supreme Court however found in their favour, ordering the property owners to pay the legal costs incurred by the Sami villages, running to a total of 3.75 million kronor ($617,000).

Michael Hägglund, who owns forests in Sunnanå, Nordmaling, and is one of the landowners who have now lost the protracted dispute, explained that the court's ruling was expected.

"The courts have not dared to take a position in any other way because of the EU and because the Sami are a minority people. The authorities should in fact have sorted this out earlier, before the problem emerged," he said.

The Supreme Court decided to try the case as customary law had not previously been considered. The court's ruling thus sets legal precedent, meaning that lower courts have to follow to the decision.

"Now we have written a piece of history for the Sami. And finally, it is in a positive direction," said Camilla Wikland, who represented the Sami in the case.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

13:33 April 27, 2011 by gplusa
Suck it up, Michael. If you'd won, then the justice system would have been wonderful. Because you lost, it's weak and corrupt. You don't get it both ways.
13:58 April 27, 2011 by jostein
@gplusa

And your glee stems from?
14:06 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
"And your glee stems from?"

Maybe from seeing that the court did not knuckle under to the Forestry 'owners'
14:10 April 27, 2011 by gplusa
My glee stems from those people who automatically assume that a system must be corrupt if they don't get the result that they believed they were entitled to. Not so much as a thought that the other side might have felt equally entitled and may have had a stronger case.
16:20 April 27, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Sami girls are HOT!
17:01 April 27, 2011 by Dazzler
Hell let the reindeer graze, nothing is stopping you from filling your freezer!
18:47 April 27, 2011 by swedejane
20 years, good lord...why the rush! So many examples of the well-oiled swedish "system" for us to see.
22:28 April 27, 2011 by jostein
One set of people have been given a carte blanche to use the property of others. This use will turn into abuse.
01:56 April 28, 2011 by waffen
The best news that I have read all week.

Finally, after 20 years, the Sami have the right to live their lives.
02:55 April 28, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
@jostein - you've got that backwards, mate. The "forest owners" are the johnny come latelys who tried to steal Sami rights by making new rules. Good on the Swedish Supreme Court for seeing Justice served.
04:47 April 28, 2011 by Frobobbles
No, the forest owners did not 'come late'. They are sami too. The late-comers in this court case are the reindeer herders, who arrived to the area long after the sami living there had gone over to other business.

The court case is not a win for the Sami people, but a tragic loss.
08:05 April 28, 2011 by jostein
@DavidtheNorseman

No. It has been impossible to establish historic use in this case. We simply do not know. The court unexpectedly used "sedvanerätt" instead of "uråldrig hävd" which, at least to a layman like me, sounds alot weaker and flimsier.
09:40 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
Maybe I could get lucky and have them graze a little to close to my Weber grill.
11:40 April 28, 2011 by Nemesis
This ruling is good news.

It is good to see the Sami getting some justice in Sweden. It makes a change from the Swedish government sterilising them under the Racial Hygiene laws until 76.

Hopefully now the Sami community can now grow in peace.
18:53 April 28, 2011 by Zhorka
The move is good but not nearly enough. The land should be expropriated from greedy landowners and made avialable to all people living in the area.
21:11 April 28, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Sami girls are Hot (except for the ones in this photo).
08:44 May 1, 2011 by Grokh
how can people own forests .
Today's headlines
Thunderstorms replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Thunderstorms replace Swedish heatwave

UPDATED: The Swedish summer was brought to a halt on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm with further inclement weather forecast for the week ahead. READ  

Cops looking for dead woman's partner
Police carry out a technical examination following the discovery of a woman's dead body in Ystad on July 26th 2014. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Cops looking for dead woman's partner

Police in southern Sweden are eager to speak to the partner of a 43-year-old woman who was found dead in an apartment on Saturday. Elsewhere in the south a 26-year-old man was arrested in Malmö on suspicion of carrying out a string of shootings. READ  

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child
Protesters gather in Malmö for a pro-Gaza demonstration on July 26th 2014. Stig-Åke Jönsson / TT

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child

The ongoing conflict in the middle east is delaying the investigation into the death of an 8-year-old girl who was found dead in Sweden in May. Meanwhile, over a 1,000 people attended a pro-Gaza march in Malmö. READ  

Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
A selection of Swedish chocolate balls. Leif R Jansson/TT

Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'

UPDATED: The Afro-Swedish national association has reported Swedish politician Eva Sidekrans to the police for selling chocolate balls labelled as "old fashioned unprejudiced negro ball" saying it incites racial hatred. She has since apologized. READ  

'Dead' Swede's damages claim killed off

'Dead' Swede's damages claim killed off

A 36-year-old woman in central Sweden who was listed as deceased by the tax office has lost her claim for damages after the Chancellor of Justice rejected her demand for compensation. READ  

Five dead in 'black Friday' drownings
A life ring pictured in Stockholm. Maja Suslin/TT

Five dead in 'black Friday' drownings

Five people died in drowning related incidents on Friday, further raising the death toll of those lost in the water in July. READ  

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

An EU public opinion poll released on Friday revealed that Sweden is the only nation which thinks the environment should be a top priority for the union. READ  

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to meet a representative of a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

723
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se